A German student and Bank of America intern dropped dead in London after working a string of around-the-clock shifts. Moritz Erhardt, 21, had been an undergraduate exchange student at Michigan’s Ross School of Business from January through May of this year, officials said. He accepted an internship with a London Bank of America. Erhardt was found dead in his apartment and, according to his flatmate, he had returned home at 6am three days in a row. It has been reported that Bank of America interns regularly work 14 hour days, clocking up to 100 plus hours a week. Erhardt studied at WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany. He had previous internships at Morgan Stanley, Corporate Global Investment Banking and Deutsche Bank. “We are all deeply shocked and saddened,” Peter Augustin, a spokesman for the German business school. Full article.
The U.S. Department of Labor has clear rules governing the legality of unpaid internships. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an unpaid internship is only lawful in the context of an educational training program, when the interns do not perform productive work and the employer derives no benefit. “If the employer would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the interns not performed the work, then the interns will be viewed as employees and entitled to compensation under the FLSA.”
Unfortunately, in today’s economy, where shareholder value and the bottom line take precedence over everything, companies have found a new way to improve profits—by promising educational opportunities to interns, but using them instead to replace paid employees. At Leeds Brown Law, we believe this is wrong, and will use our experience, knowledge, skill and resources to help you pursue compensation for your efforts.